BY BOB WRIGHT
TIGERLAND – After two slow starts resulting in punts Friday night at Tigerland, A&M Consolidated turned on the high octane to burn the College Park Cavaliers’ proud defense 41-7, with 419 yards of total offense.
Sometime, things just don’t go according to script. The Cavaliers came here for the District 15-5A battle, boasting the district’s top defense. Conversely, the Tigers were said to have the league’s worst defense, but with the top offense. Friday evening, everything went topsy-turvy. So much for scripts!…except the Tigers stuck to the script with its top offense.
The Tigers punctured the Cavs’ defense, putting up a 6-0 first-quarter lead, then for all practical purposes, had the situation under control by halftime with a 27-0 advantage. It was 34-0 after three quarters.
So, while the homestanding Tigers pillaged the district’s “top defense,” Consol disproved, for at least one evening, that its “worst defense” tag was undeserved. There were some good defensive plays turned in by A&M Consolidated, which goes to 5-2 for the season and with a 3-1 district reading. Consol held the Cavalier attack to 177 yards. College Park is now 4-3 and 1-2.
The defense was spearheaded by K.J. Dukes, D.J. Jackson, Riley Garner, Quin Haynes, Ryan Bevans, and Rolando Garcia. Those guys might have been at the top of the heap, dealing out misery with blitzes and spilling Cavalier runners behind the line of scrimmage, but the supporting cast of defenders was no less instrumental in shutting down the visitors.
Coach David Raffield again emptied the Tiger bench, making sure the non-starters gained more valuable experience. “Those guys went in and did a fine job,” Raffield said.
Offensive Coordinator Brian Cope had said before the game, “College Park is solid defensively. We have our work cut out for us.” While that might be true, it was Consol which cut up the Cav defense. Consolidated hardly missed a beat once more with its speed-to-burn offense.
Quarterback Kobe Miller again directed the attack well, while runners/receivers Daniel Zivney, Derrick Dick, Kerry Thomas, Brandon Jackson and Rodney Jernigan kept up their fine work in the “ball-moving” department. Backups came in and also acquitted themselves quite well. In this cast were quarterback Mason Hickson, a sophomore who shows a lot of promise with moves, quickness and overall field generalship savvy. Backup runners who showed prowess included Ben Thornton, David Taylor and Tyri Merchant.
Credit those “hosses up front” – the offensive line – for paving the way. This cast included Coby Foster, Luis Banuelos, Thomas Edrington, Rey Baldobino, tight end Luke Benden and Caleb O’Rear.
Daniel Zivney had another good night in the punting department, booming out three kicks for a 43-yard average.
Consol, which was penalized for 95 yards a week ago, was somewhat better disciplined this week, drawing only three stepoffs totaling 25 yards.
The Tigers turned the ball over only once, losing a fumble with 3:08 to go in the game at the Cavalier 18.
D.J. Jackson picked off a pass at the 8:10 mark of the first quarter. After that interception, D.J. had a “sure” touchdown on the return, but lost his balance just before getting into the end zone. However, the big lineman was rewarded when he was moved into a running back position and rammed it over from the two, making it 26-0. Ryan Anderson booted the extra point, and kicked all five of his attempts through the uprights.
Zivney tried the first extra point of the night, when the ball hit the left post, leaving it 6-0 in the opening period. That came after Miller drilled a pass from the six, to wide receiver Kerry Thomas with 1:45 remaining in the period. That score came on the seventh play of a 60-yard march.
Consol stretched the lead to 13-0 with the first of three TDs in the second period. The score came when Brandon Jackson went over from the one just 33 seconds deep into the quarter. That closed a 62-yard drive that needed five plays. Anderson drilled the extra point. In that scoring drive, the big play was Miller’s pass to Thomas, a 45-yard pass-and-run combination.
Next score in the quarter came on a nifty bit of running by Brandon Jackson with 6:52 remaining. Jackson, with plenty of speed, tight-roped down the sideline, then cut to the left and into the end zone. Anderson’s kick made it 20-0. It had been a 96-yard drive in half a dozen plays. Consol had been pushed back to the four on a punt which got a good roll to the Tiger four.
Then came that touchdown by lineman D.J. Jackson and a kick that made the score 27-0.
Kobe (Gus) Miller again threaded the needle to Kerry Thomas with 3:23 to go in the third, connecting with the wide receiver on a nine-yard touchdown. It came on the ninth play of a 49-yard drive. Anderson booted the point, hiking the lead to 34-0.
Consolidated made it 40-0 when QB Mason Hickman scored on a 10-yard run, right down the gut of the Cavalier defense just 10 seconds deep into the final period. It was the fifth play of a 32-yard drive. Anderson booted the extra point.
Nick Black scored the lone Cavalier touchdown on a fine run of 74 yards with 10:16 to go in the game. Chris Barnes nailed the extra point. The score had come on the third play of the 80-yard drive.
Consol registered 21 first downs to seven for the Cavs.
The Tigers hit the road to play Oak Ridge next Friday night at Conroe’s Buddy Moorhead Stadium in another 14-5A test.